- Aug 31, 2014
Thursday, July 14th (Bastille day
Starts at 12:15 - Live video from 14:15 - Finish at 16:55 (CEST) • Live ticker • Livestreams
Mountain passes & hills:
Km 131.5 - Côte de Gordes 3.3 kilometre-long climb at 4.8% - category 4
Km 135.5 - Col des Trois Termes 2.5 kilometre-long climb at 7.5% - category 3
Km 184.0 - MONT VENTOUX (1 912 m) 15.7 kilometre-long climb at 8.8% - category H
Current GC standings:CyclingQuotes.com said:Among the climbs that are regularly used for summit finishes at the Tour de France, two have a special status. L’Alpe d’Huez has written itself into the history of the race and holds a special place in the race, always featuring on the course every second year. The second legendary mountain is Mont Ventoux but it’s a much rarer feature on the course. In fact, it has only been used four times since the turn of the century but this year it will make a welcome return after a relatively short three-year absence. With its unique positon as a lonely climb in Provence, it always serves as a great way to break the monotony in between the two major mountain ranges and keeps the GC riders busy at a point of the race where it is usually all about staying safe. With its inclusion, things couldn’t have been more different: now the riders face one of the most important and hardest stages at a time when the GC is usually relatively unchanged.
To make the stage even more special, it will even be held on Bastille Day, just like it did in 2013. This year the riders will cover 184km from Montpellier to the top of the mythical mountain and like almost every Mont Ventoux stage, it can be split into two parts. First the riders will travel along completely flat roads in a norteasterly direction as they continue their journey from the Pyrenees to the Alps. Along the way, they will contest the completely flat and straight intermediate sprint at the 102.5km mark.
Shortly after the sprint, the riders will turn north to head towards Mont Ventoux and this signals a slight change in the terrain. The double climb of the category 4 Cote de Gordes (3.3km, 4.8%) and category 3 Col des Trois Termes (2.5km, 7.5%) serve a as a warm-up for the big finale. The top of the latter comes with 48.5km to and is followed by a short descent and a flat section that lead to the city of Bedoin at the bottom of the final climb. The legendary ascent averages 8.8km over 15.7km and is known for its brutally tough stat. The first 8km in the forest have gradients of 8-12% for most of the time but there is a small chance to recover in the easy section at Chalet Reynard after 10km of climbing. Then the road ramps up in the famous sandy moonscape near the top where the gradient only gets harder and harder until it culminates at 9.5% for the finale kilometre. In the final 1000m, there is a sharp turn with 800m to go and then a hairpin bend leads to the 80m, 5m finishing straight.
Among the uphill finishes in this year’s Tour, this is definitely the most prestigious and so this is the one that all the GC riders want to win. Especially Chris Froome would love to repeat his performance from three years ago and as the first part of the stage is relatively easy, it is very likely that the major teams will control things and make sure that one of the biggest riders will take the win. However, much will depend on the race situation as there are still lots of mountains to come and if the fight for the overall win is a close on, teams may prefer to save energy for later. This could open the door for a breakaway and so a possible home win on the national holiday. Regardless of the fate of the breakaway, the GC riders will battle it out in the hardest uphill finish of the race and the time gaps are likely to be huge on one of the hardest climbs in Europe. At the same time, the GC riders have to be attentive in the run-in to the climb as the windy conditions in the flat terrain have occasionally led to splits and taken riders out of contention even before the climbing has started.
As said, Mont Ventoux is a regular feature on the course. It was last used in 2013 when Chris Froome crushed the opposition to put 29 seconds into Nairo Quintana and 1.23 into Mikel Nieve and Joaquim Rodriguez. In 2009, Juan Manuel Garate beat Tony Martin in a two-rider battle on a day when Lance Armstrong secured the final third place in the race. In 2002, Richard Virenque emerged as the strongest from a breakaway while Marco Pantani famously won the stage in 2000 after Lance Armstrong had apparently given him the victory. The climb has often been used at the Criterium du Dauphiné too, with Sylwester Szmyd winning in 2009, Christophe Moreau riding away in2007, Denis Menchov being the strongest in 2006, and Alexandre Vinokourov, Iban Mayo, Denis Menchov and Tyler Hamilton winning in 2005, 2004, 2002 and 2000 respectively. In 2008, Robert Gesink won a Paris-Nice stage that finished a few kilometres from the top.
Withdrawals Stage 11:
LANGEVELD (CPT) RENSHAW (DDD) LADAGNOUS, PINEAU (FDJ) MØRKØV (KAT) CONTADOR (TNK)
192 of 198 riders remain in the race.
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